15 Fun and Free Ways to Improve Your Fitness

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Does your “new year, new you” resolution involve getting into the best shape of your life? Perhaps you’ve found yourself waffling well before Punxsutawney Phil pops up with his weather prediction. Why not make fitness more fun?

You don’t have to spend a dime to burn more calories and build healthy muscle. All it takes is a touch of ingenuity! Try these tips to reach your goals quickly.

1. Sit on an Exercise Ball

If you work in corporate America, take advantage of your desk job to improve your fitness. Ask your boss if you can use a stability ball to replace your standard office chair, at least some of the time. In addition to toning your core muscles, you could ease lower back pain, too.

2. Walk on Your Coffee Break

Whew! It’s been a long morning of sitting at your computer, and it’s time for another cup of joe. Why sit back down when you could use your coffee break to stroll and chat with a colleague or two? Walking 15 minutes a day is an ideal way to ease into a fitness routine, and your mind will feel more focused when you return.

3. Fidget

Are you always on the go? While swinging your feet in a board meeting can indicate boredom, fidgety people do burn more calories overall. So go ahead and wiggle around as much as you like when no one’s watching — you’re maxing your energy expenditure!

4. Use an App

There’s an app for everything these days — including fitness! You can find a host of free fitness apps online to inspire your routine. Even the paid versions often cost oodles less than a gym membership, so you can’t use, “I’m so broke,” as an excuse to skip a workout anymore.

5. Phone a Friend

According to experts, social support increases adherence to any fitness routine. It’s harder to yield to the temptation to crash on your couch if a buddy awaits you. If you and your best pal share similar goals, why not embark on a wellness journey together?

6. Pump up the Jams

Music makes even unpleasant activities livelier — why do you think places like discount stores play a soundtrack? Put together a killer workout playlist and use it to inspire you to move. Who hasn’t shadow-boxed to “Eye of the Tiger” now and then?

7. Go Airborne

Do you think there are some yoga poses you’ll never master? Think again! Take your workout to the sky with aerial yoga, a form of exercise that uses straps to suspend you from the ceiling. You minimize the impact on creaky joints while getting a fabulous stretch and building core strength — win, win, win!

8. Get Wet

If you have any form of arthritis, high-impact activities on land can crucify your achy knees. However, the buoyancy of water supports a significant percentage of your body weight, making movement more comfortable. Find a local public pool or gym and swim or walk your laps. As a perk, you won’t get sweaty — you can towel down and meet a friend directly afterward for tea.

9. Upgrade Your Commute

How do you get to work? If you live in reasonable proximity, trade in your road rage and bike to work instead. You see much more of your neighborhood with this mode of transportation. You may discover a hidden gem of a morning coffee stop.

10. Play with Your Kids

When was the last time you climbed a jungle gym or went down the slide? Don’t sit on the bench when you take your kids to the playground. Run, skip and jump alongside them to max your calorie burn and bond with your littles.

11. Make Your House Sparkle

Do you groan at a cluttered mess when you walk in your front door? Set a timer for an hour or two and get down and dirty. Depending on your body weight, vigorous housecleaning can burn anywhere from 99 to 150 calories every 30 minutes. Plus, you’ll bask in the tidy glow of your abode afterward.

12. Do Commercial Break Challenges

Are you watching a Friends rerun for the umpteenth time? Challenge yourself to do 50 sit-ups every time Chandler makes a joke. Alternately, reach for your hand weights or resistance bands during commercial breaks. These act as instant timers — see how many squats you can perform with perfect form before your show returns.

13. Turn Yourself Around

Do you want to improve your overall coordination and balance your hamstring and quadriceps strength? Try walking backward on occasion. This form of locomotion taxes your neurons and works your muscles in unique ways.

14. Strike a Pose in Line

Does the checkout line at the grocery store stretch from here to Mumbai? Why not use this time to strike a yoga pose or two? You can perform vrksasana, or tree pose, without drawing much attention to yourself. Plus, you could ease the strain on your low back and knees from standing still on a hard surface.

15. Let It All Out

Sometimes, you need a deep belly laugh to alleviate stress. Go for it! Laughter burns extra calories and increases the flow of positive neurochemicals. Keep a folder of your favorite hilarious memes on your work computer and enjoy a chuckle when your day goes sour.

Sneak Fun and Fitness into Your Routine

You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to hit your exercise goals. With a few simple tips, you can sneak more fitness into your life in a free and fun way!

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